Last Updated on June 23, 2021 by Helga
The charm and mystery of Venice have always attracted tourists, art enthusiasts, and culture lovers. The unique Venice atmosphere enchants everyone. Here’s our review of what is special about Venice, Italy… An article to review the uniqueness of the city built on water.
What makes Venice, Italy unique?
There are many other cities with similar characteristics in Europe. They are sisters in beauty: there are towns, cities, and even single areas within them of unique, breathtaking charm. Sometimes they are associated with Venice because of the way they look. More often than not, it is the preponderant presence of water in their urban development that recalls the Italian city. Lets’s see some examples.
Amsterdam is a real rival when it comes to water-enhanced beauty. This city has a Northern European, Germanic style, moreover, it has great charm and is rich in art. Water is an essential part of Amsterdam’s beauty and attractiveness. Waterways in the city provide a fantastic way to appreciate the architecture and artistic wealth of one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe.
Not far from Amsterdam, we find Bruges, in Belgium. It is one of the most attractive towns in the Flanders, moreover, Bruges’ beautiful city center is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Very Northern in its architecture, it is famous for its canals, which are mostly navigable. In this, Bruges recalls Venice, however, it is certainly closer to Amsterdam when it comes to the type of architecture and artistic style.
Giethoorn is also in the Netherlands. It is a town of about 2600 inhabitants in the middle-east part of the country, with no roads, just pathways, and canals. You can either walk or travel by boat. The town boasts more than 176 bridges.
Italy’s beautiful neighbor, France, also claims its right to compare places to Venice: Annecy, in the Alpine area of the Haute Savoie, was built on the banks of the homonymous lake and it is crisscrossed by navigable canals. The town is charming also because of its beautiful gardens. Annecy is by many viewed as a romantic hotspot, just as Venice is.
Last but not least, the breathtaking and magnificent St Petersburg: here, we truly cannot speak of imitation of any sort, because St Petersburg is up there in the same league as Venice, when it comes to beauty, history, and art. It is, truly, a “Venice of the North”. When it comes to beauty mirrored on water, St Petersburg is probably the only real competitor of the Serenissima.
In the world, there are countless attempts to recreate the unique Venice, for instance, the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, or the Venetian Resort in Macao. Even Buenos Aires has created an entire area within one of its up-and-coming neighborhoods imitating the Italian city. This “fake Venice” is the latest attraction of Puerto Madera, where you can even find gondolas and gondoliers. The area is specialized in event (above all weddings) organization, for all those who would like to tie the knot in Venice, but cannot manage to reach the real one.
The unique Venice
What makes Venice so unique in the eyes and the heart of millions of people? Let’s have a look on this! In Europe, there are dozens of other cities as you could see above, that are really much having the same elements as Venice, but Venice is still different, it’s still unique. Let’s see why:
What is special about Venice: the lagoon without cars
Venice canals, and charming bridges: no place in the world can equal the most picturesque of Venice‘s features: the absence of cars. If gondola is used as an ornament in some places and a way to give more credibility to the setting in others, in Venice the story is truly different: gondolas and boats are not a stage prop, they are a necessity. In Venice, many houses have a boat outside instead of a motorbike, a car, or a bike. Taxis and public transports in the city do not travel on wheels, they travel on water.
What is special about Venice: the history
Despite various attempts to reproduce Venice’s monuments on a smaller scale for touristic and commercial purposes, there is something no reproduction will ever be able to convey: the history and the sheer preciousness of Venice’s artistic and cultural heritage. It is not only about Piazza San Marco and the Basilica, or Canal Grande and the Rialto bridge, it is the town in itself, with its calli (little alleys), its markets, and old town neighborhoods that truly make the original Venice a rare jewel of beauty.
What is special about Venice: the atmosphere
Venice is often defined as “belonging to another world”: visitors often say they feel a special atmosphere which leads them to a sort of different reality. Perhaps it is the lagoon, but Venice is considered by many a place where ghostly mystery, romanticism, nostalgia, and originality blend with one another and create something truly special. To this, we must add those moments where the town becomes more than usual a synonym of elegance and joy: the Venice Carnival, the Venice film festival, the Biennale dell’Arte. These experiences, too, are exclusively and quintessentially Venetian.
What is special about Venice: the traditions
If you look for things to do in Venice, you need to experience the local tradition and live like a Venetian for a night. Have a spritz with “cicchetti” (the local small snaks) at a traditonal “bacaro” (tipical Venetian tavern). Experience the lively and joyful Venice atmosphere even after the sun goes down.
What is special about Venice: the Surroundings
Venice is not only Venice, it is also its surroundings. Among the things to do in Venice, the island’s trip is a must-do. If you plan a day trip from Venice, this should be your first choice! You will get to know places such as Murano, Burano, and Torcello, where life is quieter and less noisy compared to the main town, but whose beauty and cultural heritage will leave you speechless.
Despite the numerous imitations, Venice is really unique in the world. People can only discover it by experiencing the city and admire it in all its beauty. Are you ready to visit Venice, Italy? For more inspiration about Venice, read our Venice itinerary, the post about Venice honeymoon as well as our review on Venice’s sinking. We also made for you a collection of great hotels to stay in Venice, as well as restaurants.